We constantly hear how important sleep is, but do we really understand just how important it is, especially to the development of young children? Sleep is just as significant to a child as eating healthy and exercising because sleep helps support their mental and physical development and their overall wellness. At Educational Playcare, the Wellness of our students and their families is a top priority, which is why it is one of our Core Values. So, how does sleep affect a child’s development?
Getting enough sleep is very important to a child’s mental maturity. Even in infancy, while children are sleeping, their brains are busy working while they rest. When your baby is sleeping and starts to twitch, that is their body learning the connection between their brain and their muscles. Throughout the day some children may have a harder time than others concentrating. Children who do not get enough sleep may have a more difficult time focusing or managing their moods. Making sure your child is well rested not only helps them to concentrate and to learn new things, but it also supports the brain to take in information and retain it.
Children who do not sleep as much as they should may see a negative effect on their growth hormones. Because this hormone is primarily produced during sleep, a child that is lacking rest may develop a growth hormone deficiency. Lack of sleep can also affect a child’s weight. According to the Sleep Foundation, children who suffer from sleep deprivation may be affecting their leptin hormone which tells a child that they have eaten enough. If this hormone has been impacted, a child will continue eating even though they’ve had enough which can lead to obesity.
Getting the right amount of sleep during the night is essential, but that doesn’t mean that naps aren’t important as well. Naps not only give families some time throughout the day to get a few things done around the house or to simply relax, but they also benefit children by not allowing them to become overtired. Once a child becomes overtired, their mood can be affected, and they may have a harder time trying to fall asleep at night.
So how much sleep should a child get? Some children will need more sleep at night and take short naps throughout the day while others may sleep a bit less throughout the night and also take substantial naps throughout the day. Though there is no specific time frame that will fit the needs of every child, experts suggest the following:
Newborns: 10.5 – 18 hours a day
Infants: 9 – 12 hours a day
Toddlers: 11 – 14 hours a day
Preschoolers: 11 – 13 hours a night
School-Aged Children: 9 – 11 hours a night
To ensure that your child gets the amount of sleep needed, it’s important to start a sleep schedule at a young age and to be as consistent as possible with it. A bedtime routine will not only keep your child on a consistent schedule, but it will also help to calm your child down from the day and help them to fall asleep faster. A great way to do this is to include a bedtime story and bath in their routine.
At Educational Playcare, we are proud to offer all of our students the opportunity to participate in our Quack Pack programs at no additional cost. These programs include music, fitness, and yoga. Yoga is a great activity to implement at home. Not only is it beneficial to a child’s growth and development, but it also has many benefits including promoting better sleep.
What are some ways your family promotes healthy sleep habits?